The United Nations Security Council should immediately refer the situation in Myanmar, including the widespread and systematic abuses against ethnic Rohingya, to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.
During the first week of May 2018, senior diplomats from the 15-member Security Council visited the refugee camps in Bangladesh to see first-hand the situation of the more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar military abuses since August 2017, adding to an estimated 200,000 Rohingya refugees who fled previous violence.
The diplomats pledged to take action on their return to New York. UK Ambassador Karen Pierce said all council members considered the Rohingya issue to be “one of the most significant human rights cases that we have ever faced in the last decade and that something needs to be done.”
“Now that the Security Council has heard directly from Rohingya refugees about the horrors inflicted by Myanmar’s army, the need to hold those responsible to account should be clear,” said Param Preet Singh, associate international justice director.
“Myanmar’s repeated and implausible denials of responsibility for atrocities and its longstanding culture of impunity mean that the International Criminal Court is the only real hope for victims to see justice,” he said.
During their four-day visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh, council members met with humanitarian agencies, civil society groups, parliamentarians, and military and government officials, including Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Myanmar’s de-facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and Myanmar military commander-in-chief Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.